In 1917, the mayor of El Paso and the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service set up what they called The El Paso Disinfection Plant at the Santa Fe Bridge, allegedly to combat the disease typhus. It required all immigrants coming from Juarez to file through the facility and strip naked, where they were doused with kerosene, gasoline, sulfuric acid, and the notorious chemical Zyklon B, the toxic gas later used in the Nazi death camps. The workers, both men and women, were subjected to this treatment every day before they could enter El Paso for their daily jobs.
Carmelita Torres, a young housekeeper, refused to submit to this humiliating procedure, and led more than 200 women in a sit down action in front of the city's trolleys, which shut down the city for 3 days.
Originally broadcast on KTAL-LP on September 19, 2020.